The hotel’s €20,000 rise in a month’s electricity bill is ‘not sustainable’
A councilor in Donegal has issued a stark warning that many businesses will have no choice but to close unless serious action is taken to protect them.
Cllr Micheál Naughton (FF) is the manager of the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny. He told fellow councilors at Donegal Borough’s September meeting on Tuesday that in July alone the hotel’s electricity cost had risen by £20,000 on a year ago . There was an additional charge of €7,000 on oil for the same month. And the linen bill had gone up by €6,000.
“It was during the hottest days of the year,” he said.
“How will it be in winter? No company can support this.
“And you can’t make predictions because nobody knows what it’s going to look like.
“People were allowed to store PRSI during Covid. How are they going to pay for this in January?
Cllr Naughton said huge profit margins on wind power and Fáilte Ireland’s failure to promote Donegal were contributing to the current crisis.
“Fáilte Ireland is talking about a staffing crisis but that’s not the issue,” he said.
“I told Fáilte Ireland that the biggest problem is keeping the doors open. There will be huge closures before the end of the year.
Cllr Naughton acknowledged that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had played a part in increasing energy costs. But he didn’t hold back from venting his anger and frustration at a contributing factor that was much closer to home.
The city councilor pointed out that only 20% of the energy used here comes from oil.
“So why is there such an increase?” He asked.
“ESB buys electricity from wind farms and puts a huge margin on it. They buy it for 8c per unit and put a 400% markup on it.
“This is a serious, serious problem.
“It’s worse than Covid. If nothing is done for the business community in this budget, we will have so many closures.
“It’s a big concern for business people. This is something that needs to be settled. »
Cllr Naughton said people were making very difficult decisions every day about whether it was worth opening their doors.
He was equally scathing in his review of Fáilte Ireland, saying that together with Donegal Tourism they should have done more to promote Donegal.
The adviser said hotels in Dublin, Cork and Galway were shamelessly scamming people. He thinks Fáilte Ireland and Donegal Tourism should have been more vocal in advocating and promoting Donegal businesses.
“Everyone has been painted in a bad light and the general public is now saying how hospitality is crying again and ripping people off,” Cllr Naughton said.
“And that hurts.”
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